The Nikon J1 is the company’s first mirrorless interchangable lens camera (MILC). That in itself is pretty exciting. What with digital viewfinders, live view, and the new emphasis on movie modes in high end cameras, it’s cool to see the elimination of the mirror and pentaprism format of SLRs. Just extra weight and bulk really. I am ALL for chopping out any of these obsolete bits. Pop Photo gives a great rundown of test shots they captured with the J1, check it out.
Olympus and Pentax have been barking up the mirrorless interchangable lens format tree for a while now, and the retro-rangerfinder-esque stylings of their Micro 4/3rds format have major sex appeal for photography geeks. It’s super cool to see Nikon finally stepping into the ring (because that means now Canon has to as well, and I own Canon lenses!) But like the micro 4/3rds cameras, big-boy Nikon’s first offering in this vein comes with some whopping caveats:
1. You can use your existing F mount lenses, but only with an adapter. It’s disappointing that this camera isn’t F-native.
2. It’s got a crop factor of 2.7. Ouch. That means that your 28mm lens is now equivalent to a shocking 75mm. BOOM, your wide angle is insta-telephotoized! What?!? Jeez!
3. That crop factor is, of course, due to a smaller than APS-C sized sensor. Hrmmmm. Small sensors are a drag. They mean poor light gathering ability at equivalent apertures, reduced bokeh affect at equivalent apertures, poor high ISO performance and by extension noisy, grainy, fuzzy images, when compared to their APS-C brethren.
The second point here may really be the killer, as it essentially means you need to buy new lenses for this camera. Good luck getting a true wide angle below a full frame equivalent of 27mm. Nikon’s got a pancake 10mm that comes out in conjunction with the J1, but how long will it be before you can get something like my canon 10-24mm offers me? (16-38mm in full-frame equivalence) Probably never. No superwide. That’s sad.
It’s a sign that the winds of change are blowing when Nikon makes their first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. MILCs are lighter, smaller, and a logical step in the evolution of cameras. Unfortunately it seems like it’s still going to be a long time before a guy like me would ever want to take the plunge with one of these, mostly due to that staggering list of compromises above. I’ll check back in when Canon makes a MILC with (at least) an APS-C sized sensor. Now THAT would be a camera I’d get truly excited for!
Today I was derpin’ around on the timelapse subreddit, and I found a link to this video. There’s a lot of badass timelapse out there, but wow, this compilation really has it all. I wanna do stuff like this…
A totally bomb album that I only discovered this summer, BT Express with “Do It ‘Til You’re Satisfied”
Open up to the inside and check out this badass picture of these guys! The eponymous track of this album can be heard as the second tune in my previously posted Cactus Vinyl Funk Mix. This is some smokin hot 70’s funk right here!
Enough clear photographs to make a startrails image!
I just now realized I could do this, using a program called StarStaX. This is badass, and I am going to be doing more of it. YES!
Originally I had intended to use my intervalometer to shoot exposures all night (which worked) but something I didn’t anticipate ruined the fun: DEW on the lens! Who knew. In any event, a totally full moon also blew out the sky and prevented me from getting many stars. The images used to build the star trails picture you see above were captured before the moon rose above the tree line behind me.
In 1987 Compuserve introduced the .gif format so that it could someday culminate in the perfect storm of kickassery that you now witness below. At the time of its inception, it was never dreamed that the format would someday achieve this level of incredibleness. Now that it has reached its zenith with this image, heretoforth animated gifs shall ever be in a state of decline, never quite living up to the golden standard achieved here.
I check the stats pretty regularly on this blog and one thing that is an eternal source of fascination and amusement are the search terms that bring people around. If a website is a wide open door, it’s pretty neat to listen in on the reasons why new people came through it. I’ll divide the terms into two groups, with a few comments inserted here and there.
“Kindred Spirits”: mind blowing things to think about vastness of the universe infinity written out -just as futile as trying to write out a googolplex? girls brain waves voyager -We all know who this is referring to! how small we are compared to other things van gogh yourself -I want to do this too! be-positive-spelled-out-in-colorful-refrigerator-magnets -this one made me smile. And sort of bummed out a little bit that I don’t have the right picture to reward whomever came through trying to find this. Tell you what, let’s fix that right now:
and group two
“You Came Here Looking For WHAT?”: selective choices among low-brow tastes -AWESOME. I wanna be like the bargain basement headquarters for this! Matter of fact, new tag, starting now. changing dimensions green man -green man? Like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia “green man”? 99% of snapple facts are fake –I hope you’re right “space porn” -ok I get that. disco speaker building fuji obey -a testament to the seductive power of the X100? message in a bottle in the sewer -I was with you until that last part oinking a goomba -I really do AND DON’T want to know what this means. Maybe I should not be encouraging people looking for this to come here. like raspberries but thinner and longer –You ate what? james brown seti -what a mashup! HAH! why not to scream around cicadas -WTF, seriously. what is this
This second group has made me laugh out loud on several occasions, while the first makes me smile in a different way. Keep on comin’ you kooky kids! I check the results every day and it always raises an eyebrow. Love it!
Gotta break that ‘my-last-post-is-so-wicked-there’s-no-way-I-can-top-it’ funk! Hmmm, but how? I guess a wine label always works. Yeah, let’s do that.
Now this one is just awesome. I’ve been walking by it in the grocery store for a while now, and finally I decided it shouldn’t be any longer until this one gets the treatment on here.
In the background there is a print that hangs in my living room. There’s two small skylights in the room, and the sun falls on this picture in the early day, which is pretty awesome. Here it’s lit by light painting with a desk lamp, as you can see in the top of the bottle.
Oh man. So in case you didn’t pick up on it, I like funky music a lot. On my recent trip to Wisconsin, I extended my stay so that I could catch a concert that, when I first heard about it, made me exclaim, “Wahaaaaaaaaat?!”
It’s the jazzy funk organ trio WRD aka Walter, Roberts, & Deitch. For anyone keeping score, that’s Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds on guitar, Robert Walter of the Greyboy Allstars on B3 organ with basslines, and Adam Deitch of Lettuce and Pretty Lights on the drums. Holy. Crap. Let’s get right into the videos, taken from the Jazz in the Park concert series in Milwaukee Wisconsin on 8/18/11:
While most people will just appreciate it at face value for what it is, I gotta say for those of us who follow the modern funk music scene, this trio is 1. a total dream-team and 2. a pretty fascinating confluence of different vibes from within the same overall scene. Adding to the interest is the fact that they embarked on a 5 date tour, with no future dates yet announced. So get it while it’s hot, and you best believe; it’s HOT!
Let’s break down who’s who, and what they each add to the mix:
On drums, Adam Deitch has put in a lot of time with Lettuce, bringing his really tight, on-tempo, in-your-face school of beats from New York City. He’s also played with jazz great John Scofield and acted as producer for some legit hip-hop albums from Talib Kweli and 50 Cent. His sound is hard, flashy, bombastic. The overpowering, explosive records from Lettuce owe a lot to Deitch’s style. He’s also a young guy! It’s pretty cool that the relatively older Roberts and Walter decided together that this would be the right guy for forming an organ trio.
On the flip side of the spectrum we’ve got Robert Walter, a keys player who’s helped redefine the meaning of boogaloo for the modern generation. This cat hails from San Diego and now lives in New Orleans–sorry, Nawlins. He’s loose, and I mean that in all right ways. For many years he’s been a cornerstone of the Greyboy Allstars. He’s also played in a jillion other settings it seems like, from his own groups–the 20th Congress and the Super Heavy Organ trio–to the Stanton Moore Trio and gobs of other one-off delightful combinations of hip musicians. I saw him with Stanton Moore in New York about five years ago and it was a treat to hear him play basslines. Same deal here. In fact I sort of feel like he’s gotten better with them… or maybe he was just getting into it in Milwaukee and performed exceptionally well. In any event, this guy is a giant on the B3 organ, generally with a laid back feel, ahead of the beat, behind the beat, around the beat–and pours it on masterfully.
Lastly, there’s Eddie Roberts from Leeds in the UK, who’s known for his main gig with The New Mastersounds. As with the others, he also has a mile-long list of side collaborations and projects. Eddie is the top chef when it comes to Deep Funk, serving up a signature stew of meaty rhythm guitar wah-comping, rippin’ solos seasoned with Wes Montgomery style harmonized licks, and an increasingly tasteful sense of when to escalate the energy level with his trademark bursts of quick-pickin’ or let the feeling simmer while he marinates with some soulful strummin’. Roberts typically eases into a performance, taking at least a few tunes to really get situated before he hits you with the secret sauce that makes you smile, but here with the WRD Trio, he came out swinging hard. I’ve seen him play at least ten different times now, and I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen him come out immediately so strong. A pleasure to watch! Out of all the guys playing funk guitar out there today, Roberts is the top of the heap, in my eyes.
In their own ways, you can make a solid arguement that each of these three guys are at the forefront of their respective veins of today’s funk scene. It’s pretty exciting to see them teaming up like this, and you can tell both from the playing, and the facial interactions between them, that they’re having a good time!
– – –
To switch gears for a minute here, this was sort of the first major outing with my new T3i video DSLR, and it was a learning experience. Probably the most major thing I immediately took away from these videos was the importance of holding the camera steady. What seems like minor fumbling on the 3″ camera LCD I watch while filming, turns into jarring and distracting earthquakes on the 24″ LCD at home! Lesson learned!! I got a little wild with my quick zooms at times, which sometimes worked awesome (like right at the beginning of a solo), sometimes seem a bit kitschy but still cool (zooming in along with the beat), and sometimes overdone (too much ranch will ruin any salad).
Note that anytime you can see the keys on Robert’s B3, I’m holding the camera up as high as I can over my head, with the T3i articulating screen pointed 90 degrees down so I can keep things in frame. Boom. There you go–paying extra for the T3i was justified afterall.
Walking sideways and/or *slowly* moving the camera around on an otherwise steady shot turned out to be cool techniques that somewhat capture the excitement of “being there”, instead of the clinical feel of a documentary. I want to experiment more with those in the future. Rotating the camera to odd angles in order to fit as much interesting stuff into the frame as possible was also a good idea. Those shots that tightly frame Eddie’s head at the left and Adam’s drums on the right were cool. I want to try doing more of these so-called “Dutch Angles” in the future.
I also learned that with 1080p at 24fps, it’s a waste of video footage to do any really fast pans, like the ones that sweep over the audience rapidly. With this framerate and quick camera movement, the subject just turns into mush. Finally, another big takeaway is that I need to improve my skills on quickly refocusing with the manual focus ring, specifically by always rotating it in the correct direction. If I want to be able to master moving between subjects and not having moments of blurriness (which can admittedly be sort of cool in limited amounts) I’ll need to develop some better ability for wrangling those rings more responsively! Maybe even DURING a pan between subjects…
… is play along with my favorite bands. In this case, it’s a recording of Soulive from Bear Creek in 2010. I actually jam out to this little 2 minute segment a LOT. I call this activity “home run derby” where I just kinda try to hit it as hard as I can, so to speak. It’s an okay session of HRD here, although I know for certain I can top this. I might delete this video and replace it with a cooler one in a few weeks. Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, here’s a 2 minute jamout!
coming off of my recent string of awful youtube-centric videos, this could be considered the third entry in the series. This time the genre is “check out me screwing around on some musical instrument!” This one is actually semi-cool. I think I might record more of these in the future.
Filmed with the Canon nifty fifty f/1.8 at 1.8! Should have backed up the focal point just a touch. Next time.
So right now there’s a supernova named SN 2011fe going on, one that’s visible with a set of binoculars, if you know where to look. That’s pretty awesome. I have to admit, I totally feel like I’m missing out on some rare, limited offer by not being in possession of a telescope.
Let’s talk about that–how awesome it would be to have your own telescope. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long, long time now, and I feel a steady itch building. Something tells me I might have one within the next year or so. My chief interest is of course, simply checking out the stars, but a close second priority would be using it to make pictures. I’ve read many articles about neat things discovered by amateur astronomers who just sort of happened to be looking at the right thing at the right time, and think, man, it would be so badass to join those ranks.
Indeed, the picture on the wikipedia page for supernova SN 2011fe was generated by this guy, using a Canon 60D (which has the exact same sensor/guts as my very own Canon T3i). JEALOUS! SO COOL. TOTALLY JEALOUS! It’s my turn to exclaim, with no dignity, oh that should so be me taking that picture! Maybe someday. Maybe someday you too could get a wikipedia-worthy photo of a rare astro-event. Keep on dreamin’ kid.
So I did some searching to see what people out there are already doing and get an idea of what kind of images I could potentially attempt to make on my own, and I happened upon a few websites that well, jeez, just about exploded my eyeballs with pictures you’d swear came from a hundred-million dollar Hawaiian telescope or something. The picture above is one such example, taken by Mr. Georgiy Suturin. I mean, I have no illusions that these guys are way beyond anything I could achieve, but STILL, the fact remains that they are doing this in their own backyards with cobbled-together setups. That blows my mind. Spend a little time checking out the galleries on the sites below, I promise you will not be disappointed: